The growing sophistication of emergency lighting techniques signifies that as properly as being an important part of a building’s life safety infrastructure they’ll also save money and scale back CO2 emissions thanks to the advantages intelligent LED-based options with advanced battery know-how have over traditional techniques.
Anyone who has had the misfortune of being in an unfamiliar constructing when a fireplace alarm is activated or a main lighting failure has occurred will perceive the true worth of an emergency lighting system. Although we frequently take these acquainted green and white signs without any consideration, emergency lighting’s position, as part of an general life security system, should by no means be underestimated. Recent years have witnessed important advancements in the know-how deployed in these techniques, with the end result that they now provide a level of intelligence that combines energy effectivity with reliability and ease-of-use.
Bad Behaviour

The method during which we use energy is consistently within the spotlight and if additional proof was required of the necessity for all of us to deal with our behaviour it got here in a 2013 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It acknowledged that scientists are ninety five % certain that we are the ‘dominant cause’ of world warming since the Fifties.
This may not come as much of a surprise. However, by way of higher consciousness of the effects of CO2, mixed with the monetary implications of rising utility payments, organisations are more prepared and able than ever to make use of power properly. Growing legislation and regulation signifies that companies everywhere in the world are implementing power reduction measures. The focus is commonly on adopting renewable energy applied sciences corresponding to solar photovoltaics (PV), wind turbines and ground and air source heat pumps as ways to generate energy, while others are using building management methods (BMS) to gain a holistic view of their vitality use and establish ways to lower their consumption.
However, the strain is on to do much more, which is why constructing house owners and managers are having to drill down and have a look at particular person parts of their building providers infrastructures to see whether or not there any additional savings may be made.
Light Years Ahead

Modern emergency lighting methods supply the likelihood for vital energy and value financial savings. This is as a end result of of two key factors – the usage of light emitting diode (LED) based mostly lighting and advanced battery know-how.
Traditional emergency lighting methods utilise crude nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride or lead acid batteries. They drive the centrally operated system by frequently charging, discharging somewhat and then recharging – a process that makes use of pointless amounts of power and shortly decreases the lifecycle of the battery. It signifies that battery life is limited to between one and four years, dependent upon the application.
State-of-the-art intelligent technology, nonetheless, utilises only the amount of power needed to completely charge the emergency lighting batteries, after which shuts the battery down until an emergency situation occurs. This avoids degradation, prolongs life and reduces energy consumption. Some systems are additionally out there with luminaires which are geared up with integral batteries allowing continued operation for at least three hours, even in instances where the management panel or energy cables are damaged. Maintained luminaires can be powered immediately from the line so as not to have an effect on any battery capacity therefore leaving the batteries in an “always ready” state.
So what kind of energy savings may be made as a result? It is estimated that clever battery systems use between five and ten p.c power of that a conventional battery system would use. Consider bigger installations of up to 5,000 luminaires – which aren’t unusual in hospitals, for example – and the financial savings quickly turn out to be apparent.
Bright Spark

It is estimated that lighting accounts for more than 19 p.c of the world’s complete electrical energy consumption. According to Green LED Solutions, if solely half of worldwide lighting was transformed to LED by 2025, power use would be cut by 120GW, saving £66 billion a yr and decreasing CO2 emissions from energy plants by 350Mt over the same period.
LED lighting has seen rapid adoption and the worldwide market was value $25.4 billion in 2013, in accordance with a Digitimes Research Special Report. LED technology is both price efficient and environmentally friendly, making it a greener alternative to other methods which are at present out there and permitting operating costs to be kept to a minimum with out compromising efficiency.
LED expertise is now being utilized in emergency lighting systems and these new luminaires provide some spectacular financial savings. For pressure gauge , they eat lower than 0.5W, while a similar 8W fluorescent gentle exit luminaire will use approximately 12W. These techniques also come with further vitality saving options, together with signage that’s related by way of low voltage 40V cabling, which is powered and configured on the identical loop by way of a single panel, giving high ranges of management by way of an automatic system.
Testing Times

All emergency lighting techniques must be tested on a month-to-month foundation in compliance with BS EN 50172. The take a look at itself often includes flicking a guide swap, which interrupts the facility provide to the luminaire, in order that it illuminates. A full report sheet must be maintained for each emergency luminaire and entered right into a logbook, which must be obtainable for inspection by the authorities at any time. Failure to provide full take a look at data can lead to authorized motion and closure of the building, and if the emergency lighting is flawed, the insurance policy for the building may be invalid.
On the floor this all seems reasonable and fulfils the necessities of the Standard, nevertheless, the testing process itself is flawed and does not necessarily end in a safe and absolutely functional system. All it does is check that the system works for a few seconds when the manual switch is operated – what happens if the system fails 5 minutes after the test? It is not going to be retested for one more month, so could depart a building’s occupants vulnerable within the meantime.
Also, it doesn’t check only for how lengthy the luminaires will keep on and whether or not the battery has enough energy to take care of operation for the period specified within the related standards. The time required to evacuate the premises depends on its size and complexity. The length itself is dependent not only on evacuation time but additionally on whether or not the premises are evacuated instantly the facility and normal lighting fails and/or are reoccupied immediately the supply is restored.
BS EN 50172 states the minimal period of an emergency lighting system as one hour. However, a minimal duration of three hours must be used for emergency lighting if the premises aren’t evacuated immediately, as within the case of sleeping lodging, for instance, or if the premises shall be reoccupied immediately the provision is restored with out ready for the batteries to be recharged. It also wants to be noted that to comply with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) a hundred and one Life Safety Code, emergency lights are required to remain lit for 90 minutes.
Modern emergency lighting control panels continuously monitor and take a look at functionality in actual time. They can additionally be pre-programmed to hold out specific monthly, six month-to-month and annual tests and additionally it is possible to set operational parameters up to alert when batteries are at eighty five p.c capacity, providing a excessive stage of reassurance that the system will work accurately underneath all circumstances.

Lighting consumes 19 p.c of all electrical energy in the world.
The first LED system was crafted in 1907 by Captain H J Round, a British radio expertise pioneer and a personal assistant to Guglielmo Marconi.
Nick Holonyak Jr is taken into account ‘the father of the modern LED’. In 1962, whereas working at General Electric, he developed the first virtually functional visible spectrum LED gadget for industrial use.
In 2009, a typical 13W LED lamp emitted 450-650 lumens, which is equivalent to a standard 40W incandescent bulb. LEDs have turn out to be more efficient, in order that now a 6W LED can easily achieve the same outcomes.
LEDs produce an extended service life of between 50,000 hours and a hundred,000 hours. This compares with 2,000-5,000 hours for a halogen bulb and eight,000 hours to fifteen,000 hours for a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL).
Unlike CFLs LEDs do not comprise mercury and could be extra safely disposed of.
LEDs emit no ultraviolet radiation (UV) or infrared (IR), which makes them excellent to light up pricey objects corresponding to images, collections, paintings and so forth.
LEDs produce more gentle than heat, which makes them the safest form of lighting and reduces the danger of fires.
Right Place, Right Time

Evacuation is usually hindered by a lack of detailed knowledge of the inner connectivity of the constructing house, together with confusing and poorly thought out instructions. Studies have additionally proven that in these situations occupants often make use of familiar routes – typically utilizing the exit through which they entered the constructing. Even more worryingly, research from the University of Greenwich, as part of its research called Human Behaviour in Fire Network (HUBFIN), found that solely 38 percent of people see passive signage in an emergency. This is a daunting statistic and solely serves to highlight the significance of siting an emergency lighting system in a means that may guide people to a secure location within the event of a mains lighting failure.
BS EN 50172 presents steering on the positioning of luminaires, supplies a minimum commonplace that ought to be utilized and provides steerage on specific hazards and points of emphasis that have to be accounted for. Points of emphasis are obligatory locations the place lighting must spotlight particular hazards, safety tools and signs. These embrace areas near stairs, close to modifications of degree, at each change of path, close to firefighting tools and manual name points, outdoors and near to each last exit, first help factors, at exit doors, and close to safety indicators.
Signs are either internally of externally illuminated and the utmost viewing distances for internally illuminated signs is 200 times the panel height, and one hundred instances the panel height for externally illuminated signs. Luminaires should offer 1Lux of output in escape routes and 0.5Lux in open areas. Emergency lighting also wants to be positioned in such a way to ensure that individuals are free from incapacity glare, which might forestall obstructions or signs from being properly seen.
It is price remembering that Industry Committee for Emergency Lighting (ICEL) permitted merchandise are independently examined and meet the present product and application requirements. Therefore, deciding on products with ICEL approval will present reassurance of compliance.
Look to the Future

The issues with passive signage are clear from the University of Greenwich’s HUBFIN research, which is why the integration of fire detection and emergency lighting methods is the subsequent step in including intelligence and larger effectiveness to a life security infrastructure.
A traditional emergency lighting system doesn’t permit signs to be ‘shut off’, which can enable folks to unwittingly journey into the path of danger. In places such as hospitals and care houses, where individuals often have restricted mobility, time is of the essence and should not be wasted by having to decipher probably the most appropriate escape route.
By integrating a fireplace detection system with emergency lighting, and by identifying the place a fireplace is taking place, the proper route may be configured and communicated. For example, by responding to info sent from the hearth detectors it’s potential to place a red ‘X’ on specific emergency luminaires, which alerts to people not to exit by way of that particular route. This can be synchronised with the prevailing PA/VA system, including another level of safety.
Not solely does integration make good sense from a security point of view, it has a number of value saving and environmental benefits. It is estimated that it might scale back the entire system’s wiring content by seventy five %, as there could be just one loop with each capabilities.
Feature Packed

A appropriately specified, put in and maintained emergency lighting system is essential so as to give occupants a means of evacuating a constructing safely in the occasion of a mains lighting failure, or if required, a hearth. The regulations, requirements and guidance on this topic are comprehensive and the superior LED lighting and battery expertise that is now out there combines reliability, performance and value with another way to save power.